This Is Not an Obituary
He was too full of life for that.
On Wednesday, March 16 at 12:30 AM my husband, Ed, passed away peacefully. Our children and grandchildren were able to fly down to our winter digs in South Carolina, where we could all spend that fleeting time together. I think it was the way anyone who saw their last days coming would have wanted it to be.
He was 89 and still making jokes the day before his breathing finally slowed then stopped. No pain, no real stress, just…an ending.
And now a new beginning for me. We’ve been together since September 1955, two weeks after I turned 18. He was 23 and just out of the Marines. He asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve, presenting me with a small but perfect emerald-cut diamond ring he picked out himself, and for which he would make payments into summer.
We were married the following July, and I moved out of my parents’ house to make a new life with him. And what a life it was! We were still practically strangers—and mere kids—when we started out, but we chose well. Neither of us could have lived that long with anyone else.
I have never lived alone. Never. But you know what? I’m looking forward to it. My grief will be painful and palpable. It will strike whenever a sight, a smell, a memory jabs at my heart. I expect that. I can’t say I’ll welcome it, but I’ll expect it. But now, in the years I have left, it’s my time.
What will I do with it? I’ll go back to our Up North island home when it gets warmer and see what living alone is like. My dear, dear women friends will be like mother hens, hovering over me until I finally tell them they have to stop. I’m going to need alone time.
I have visions of getting back to writing the longer pieces I’ve had to abandon for so long while life put my priorities elsewhere. I hope they’ll cooperate after such a long time in limbo.
There is a big project I’m thinking of getting involved in—a ‘Save the Planet and get out the vote’ effort linking older citizens with the younger and more energetic. It’s just getting off the ground and looks like it’s right up my alley. They’ve asked me if I would be interested in writing a blog for them, and now the timing just may be right.
I won’t remove every evidence of the love of my life, nor will I make him a saint. He was a presence in my life for so long I can’t begin to imagine what it’s going to be like without him. In our later years we did everything together. The dynamic duo. If one was seen without the other our friends and neighbors would get nervous.
He was my best ‘first reader’ when he was still able, and I’ll try to keep in mind the things he might have caught that I wouldn’t. He loved what I was doing and wanted me to do more.
Now I can. Now I will. So don’t cry for me. You know I wouldn’t like that.
The new adventure begins.
(Cross-posted at Constant Commoner.)
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This is gorgeous and so moving, Ramona. My heart is aching, but I am in awe of your aspirations for this next phase of life. Keep going. Keep writing. Eager to read whatever comes next.
We each have a personal roadmap that leads to a spot such a this marked with flowers and memories. You will undoubtedly plant the seeds of life that you have gathered over the years in new places, watering some with tears of sadness and others with tears of joy. Thank you for sharing your journey. 💜